Author Archive

How You Can Boost Your Self-Esteem While Living with Psoriasis

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that more than 8 million Americans have psoriasis and that 60% say their disease is be a large problem in their everyday lives. If you are struggling with your psoriasis, here are some things you can do to make your struggle more manageable.

Join a Local Support Group

Having a support system can boost your self-esteem. Meeting with other people, sharing your feelings and supporting each other can help you feel less alone and isolated. Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation website to find a support group in your area.

Remember that Psoriasis Doesn’t Define You

Psoriasis is not who you are! Focus on finding activities to relieve stress, like exercise and spending time with friends and family. Make a list of all the positives in your life. Psoriasis may be a part of your life, but it is not the center.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

When selecting clothing, choose clothes that are comfortable and won’t irritate and further aggravate your skin. Cotton, modal, and silk are all great fabric options when looking for clothes that allow your skin to breathe.

See a Therapist

As you live with your psoriasis, you may feel a range of emotions from embarrassment to shame. You may even experience depression and anxiety, which can trigger psoriasis flares. Talk to a therapist and work on creating strategies to deal with your stress and emotions.

Maintain Your Overall Health

Maintaining your overall health is a key part of your body confidence plan. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and give up harmful habits like smoking to take care of your health. Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health and your self-esteem.

Breastfeeding Highs and Hurdles

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Breastfeeding can be a great experience for both mom and baby, but it’s also a lot of hard work that comes with a set of big difficulties. Every mom is bombarded with articles that explain the benefits of breastfeeding and, while they are largely correct, it can put more pressure on a very personal decision.  We want all mothers and families to feel they are supported and that they can come to any Portneuf Medical Center care giver with any questions or concerns.

If you are a new mom or a mom with several children, you probably already know how up and down, complicated and wonderful it is to be a parent. Breastfeeding also has its own highs and struggles. Here are some of both the great and not so great parts of breastfeeding and how to find support.

 

 

The Great: Magic Diet for Your Baby

Your body creates the perfect food for your baby to develop during those early months of life. Mother’s milk is full of nutrients to provide your baby with the perfect food, in fact, the nutrients in a mother’s milk changes as your baby’s needs change. After the first several days of breastfeeding, your milk will change in color, thickness and nutrient concentration. Your mature milk will have the perfect balance of fat, sugar, protein and water.

Breastmilk, in addition to supplying your little one with proper nutrients, is loaded with antibodies that protect your baby from infections.  Studies show, breast milk can help lower the risk of leukemia, asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear infections, eczema, diarrhea and necrotizing enterocolitis.

If you have any questions about your baby’s early development or are worried about your baby getting enough milk, contact the OB nursery floor at 208-239-2270 to be connected with one of our lactation consultants.

 

The Not So Great: Worries Over Milk Supply and Latching

Common worries about breastfeeding include milk supply and proper latching. As your baby develops, so will how they feed and how much milk you produce. At six weeks to two months, your breasts may no longer feel as full as they once did and feedings may last for a shorter period of time. Most likely this means your baby is getting better at feeding! Growth spurts, usually around three weeks, six weeks and three months, may also make you worried that your supply is too low. This is a time when you can follow your baby’s lead.

Here are some ways to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat:

  • Nurse often
  • Check for a good latch
  • Offer each breast during feedings
  • Avoid giving your baby cereal or formula as this may make your baby less interested in breastmilk.

Ensuring your baby gets a good latch will help him/her get enough milk, but it will also make it more comfortable for you. Getting your baby to feed correctly may take some trial and error. If you have sore nipples, your baby is having trouble getting enough of your breast in his/her mouth or even if you’re just concerned it’s not correct, talk to a lactation consultant. They are there to make sure this experience becomes one that’s enjoyable for both of you.

 

The Great: Health Protection for Mom

Your baby gets a number of benefits from breast milk, but you can also get some great benefits yourself. Breastfeeding helps moms heal after giving birth. Moms can also have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Some women also see a jumpstart in their efforts to lose postpartum weight. You secrete 450-500 calories into breastmilk per day. It’s good to keep this in mind while you adjust your diet to make sure you’re still getting eating enough for the both of you!

 

The Not So Great: Pumping Reminders on Your Phone

Breastfeeding is a large time commitment. No matter how happy you are to give this gift to your baby, it can still feel like a chore. It may be especially challenging as you prepare to return to work. The best way to handle that stress is to have a plan. You will need to prepare both your body and your baby for your absence. To do so, slowly introduce pumping and bottle feeding into the routine before you have to go back to work.

Your baby should be ready to drink from a bottle after a month. Practice your pumping and give your baby a bottle instead of your breast at some feedings. You may also want to build up a supply of breast milk. Do this by pumping during naps or when your baby is being looked after by another. Having a supply ready can let you relax when something unexpected happens.

See our lactation specialist about pumping and storing breastmilk tips. You can also find information here: https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-storing-breastmilk

 

The Great: Special Bonds

Skin-to-skin contact between a mom and baby is highly encouraged and could be initiated right after birth. This type of bonding will continue as you hold your baby close while breastfeeding. Your baby will find comfort in your presence. Skin to skin is proven to lower stress and, as an added benefit, you will both find joy in this closeness.

Your partner can also use this time for bonding and should also try skin-to-skin contact. Your partner could be with you during feedings or be there right after to burp your baby. Find ways to include each other in this special time.

 

The Not So Great: Outside Opinions and Accommodation

Breastfeeding is in the news, it is Tweeted about and there is no shortage of opinions on the topic. It can be difficult to know who to turn to, how to ask for what you need and how to react to negative comments.

One place where you might need to make your needs known is at work. A good place to start is to know the law. You are covered under the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law if you are also covered by Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires FLSA employers to provide break time for women to express milk and a functional space that is not a bathroom each time they need to express. Even though it is the law, employers may be unsure if they are supporting their employees adequately. Have a discussion with your employer before going on leave or coming back to make sure you are both prepared.

Breastfeeding in public also comes with protection from the law. You are legally allowed to breastfeed your child in any public space. However, even knowing this law protects you and you know you are doing a beautiful, natural thing by feeding your child, you may still have to endure the opinions of those that do not approve. You never have to respond to anyone who comments negatively about breastfeeding.

Find support from other moms in the area.

On the flip side, many moms get criticized for not breastfeeding their children. We understand that there are a number of reasons a mom may choose to not breastfeed. Know we are not here to judge you, but to help ensure you and your baby are as healthy as possible!

For more information on your rights in the workplace, click here: https://www.womenshealth.gov/supporting-nursing-moms-work/what-law-says-about-breastfeeding-and-work/what-breastfeeding-employees/#1

 

 

 

We at Portneuf Medical Center fully support moms and their babies. If you ever have any questions about breastfeeding, from how to work a pump to what nipple cream you should use, please contact us.

Call the OB Nursery floor at 208-239-2270 to be connected with one of our lactation consultants.

Three Simple Ways You Can Incorporate SPF Into Your Skincare Routine

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

While many of us lather on sunscreen while heading to the beach or pool on a hot summer day, most of us don’t apply sunscreen as often as we should when we go about our daily lives. Approximately five million Americans are treated for skin cancer every year, making the need for SPF more important than ever. While you may have a tube of sunscreen sitting in your beach bag, you may not necessarily think to apply SPF while going about errands, walking your dog, or sitting next to your office desk window. Luckily, there are many skincare products available today that have SPF included, making it easy to incorporate SPF into your daily routine without adding additional products.

  1. Choose a Foundation or Moisturizer with added SPF

Instead of adding another step to your skincare routine, swap out your foundation or moisturizer for one with added SPF. When looking for makeup foundations or moisturizers with SPF added into them, be sure to check that they are labeled as “broad spectrum” with an SPF rating of at least 15 or higher. “Broad spectrum” sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to also look for zinc oxide or avobenzone to be listed in the ingredients label, as these are active ingredients that help to combat UV rays. Once you’ve applied your foundation, you can apply a powder, which will help your moisturizer and sunscreen stay on your face through the day. Don’t forget to also protect your eyes! Using an eye cream with SPF ensures that the thinner skin around your eyes isn’t being damaged by the sun’s harmful rays. Of course, next time you’re headed to pick up the kids from soccer practice or have a long drive, be sure to grab a hat and sunglasses on your way out the door to fully protect your face.

  1. Use a Lip Balm containing SPF

Your lips can get burned too! Swap out your lip balm for one containing SPF. Using a lip balm with SPF will ensure that your lips are protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays. In addition to protecting your lips from the sun, using lip balm with SPF helps lock in moisture, which can help to heal redness or cracked lips.

  1. Use a Body Lotion or Moisturizer with SPF throughout the day

Your ears, neck, and upper chest can also be exposed to the sun when you’re on your morning commute, so be sure to swap your body lotion or moisturizer for one that contains SPF. Hint: Keep a bottle at your desk to reapply before you head out on your lunch break. You’ll still be able to get all the benefits of a lotion or moisturizer while also giving your skin sun protection.

Combining these simple steps will help to protect your skin on a daily basis, but remember when you’re heading out for a fun day in the sun, use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher thoroughly and reapply every two hours.

Berry Red, White and Blue

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

The fourth of July is right around the corner. As we celebrate with parades, fireworks, and backyard barbecues, try adding some healthful berries to your dishes like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Berries are full of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. They are also in season, perfect for an Independence Day gathering and to enjoy throughout the summer. Here are some red, white, and blue ideas for a patriotic party:

Angel Food Cake with berries is a lower calorie, lower fat dessert option, perfect to share with friends and family.

Photo by Jennifer Anthony, RD, LD

Prepare an American pie loaded with raspberries, strawberries, or cherries, and blueberries. Use star cookie cutters on the pie crust for a decorative top crust.

Photo by Jennifer Anthony, RD, LD

Add a variety of berries to French toast or whole wheat waffles for a Patriotic themed breakfast.

Photo: Garnish and Glaze website. Accessible at https://www.garnishandglaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/waffle2.jpg

Preventing sports hernias

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

When you think about sports injuries, do hernias come to mind?

A sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area. Sports hernias are most common in activities that require repetitive or explosive motions. Twisting, bending, kicking and turning at high speeds can cause a tear in the soft tissue of the lower abdomen or groin.

The pain associated with sports hernias is caused by torn tendons that attach to the pelvis. Its symptoms may include lingering pain in the lower abdomen, groin or in the testicle (males).

Athletes at risk for sports hernias should practice exercises that increase flexibility and strengthen the muscles in and around the pelvic area. At the first sign of strain or stress in the groin or lower abdomen, it is recommended that you rest briefly to ensure the injury doesn’t worse. Apply ice to the region after intense exercise.

Specific treatment for a sports hernia will be determined by your doctor. Rest, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen or naproxen) may help alleviate symptoms, but some sports hernias require surgical treatment. More than 90% of patients who go through nonsurgical treatment and then surgery are able to return to sports activity.

To find a provider or schedule an appointment with Portneuf Primary Care, call 208-239-3815.

The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Health Screenings

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Sometimes making checkup appointments and seeing the eye doctor doesn’t feel all that important. Health screenings get pushed to the next year or worse, are simply never thought about. However, getting screenings is one the most essential things a man can do for his health. If you don’t know about a problem, you can’t make it better and you can possibly lose the window of opportunity to improve or even save your life. So, break out the date book and get ready to schedule some screenings.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood pumping through your arteries is abnormally high. This can cause a wide-range of problems, including aneurysms, kidney failure and vision issues. Developing high blood pressure is very common, affecting one in three Americans. The risk becomes higher as we age, increasing when men hit 45. Being African-American, obese or having a family history of high blood pressure also means you could be more at risk.

To prevent high blood pressure you should maintain a healthy weight through eating right and exercising. Since little or no symptoms may appear with high blood pressure, it’s important to get screened by a physician. Then you can discuss your numbers and how to achieve a healthy level.

High Cholesterol
There are a couple of different kinds of cholesterol, and too much of one kind can block your arteries. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the kind of cholesterol that blocks arteries. LDL levels should be kept down. If they rise above high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), then you have high cholesterol. Having high LDL levels can mean a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease.

You can have high cholesterol at a young age, so you should get screened starting at age 20. Getting your cholesterol checked consists of a blood test. From the results, a physician will be able to help you figure out your LDL, HDL and blood fat levels.

Type Two Diabetes
It is terribly important to get screened for type two diabetes because 1) symptoms can go unnoticed for years, causing one-third of Americans with diabetes to be unaware of their condition and 2) diagnosing and treating diabetes can have a profoundly positive impact on your health.

After age 45, you should get tested for type two diabetes at least every three years. Tests could include the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, random blood sugar test, fasting blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test. You should get screened earlier if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol or have a family history of diabetes. Treatment could be as simple as exercise and a healthy diet, so don’t wait to be tested.

HIV and STIs
Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, can be present and show no symptoms. It’s important to get tested, especially to avoid unknowingly infecting another person. If you’ve have unprotected sex, have a new partner or are worried about infection for any other reason, it’s a good idea to get tested.

Not all routine exams or physicals include STI tests. Talk to your physician about getting tested, especially for common STIs like HIV, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. These tests can be as simple as a mouth swab, urine sample or blood sample. Don’t be embarrassed – your physicians want to make sure you are healthy!

Glaucoma
Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure that damages the optic nerve, leading to partial or complete vision loss. It affects most people after age 40 and tends to be inherited. Early signs of developing this condition can be as slight as losing some peripheral vision, which is why getting a full eye exam every one to two years is essential.

Cancer Screenings

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting one out of every five Americans. The group most likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is white men. Melanoma is responsible for the majority of deaths caused by skin cancer, where men are twice as more likely to die from it than women.
Men are more likely to develop skin cancer because they typically spend more time in the sun. They also do not take as many precautions as women when they are exposed to UV rays, such as applying sunscreen or wearing protective clothing.

Check your skin often for irregularly-shaped, dark spots. Play close attention to the face, back and shoulder regions. If you find any concerning marks, make an appointment with a physician. Additionally, have your physician check your skin since it can be hard to easily see your whole body.

Prostate Cancer
Prostates grow larger for all men as they age, with most seeing problem-causing symptoms, from urinary issues to prostate cancer. You should get screened for prostate cancer starting at age 55. Consider getting checked earlier if your brother or father had prostate cancer or if you are African-American.

Screenings usually involve a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigens. Based on these results, your physician might recommend a biopsy.
If you’re experiencing problematic urinary changes, have a family history of prostate cancer, are African American or if you’re over the age of 55, talk to your primary care physician about those issues.

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer it a term that describes cancer that forms in either the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (last six inches of intestine). This cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Men have a one in twenty-two chance of developing it over their lifetime.

Small growths, called polyps, can grow and eventually turn cancerous. To detect and remove these polyps, tests such as a colonoscopy is performed. Colonoscopies and other tests are recommended starting at age 45. Colorectal cancer is usually preventable, so get screened!

Testicular Cancer
Although testicular cancer is relatively rare, it is the most common cancer for American males aged fifteen to thirty-five. Symptoms can include a lump in either testicle, ache in the groin, enlargement or tenderness of breasts and/or the feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.

All men should have a testicular exam as part of their routine physicals. Talk to your physician if you have a family history of testicular cancer or an undescended testicle. You should also perform self-exams, feeling for hard lumps, smooth bumps or changes in the size or shape of the testes.

Just like your car needs annual maintenance and your house needs yearly inspections, your body needs to be checked too. Make appointments to get screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, STIs and any cancers that might be of concern given your age or family history. Taking measures to check in with your health can only benefit you. An early detection and treatments are well worth the waiting room visit.

To make an appointment at our Primary Care Clinic to discuss any needed screenings or to schedule a screening, call 208-239-3814 or visit https://portneufmedicalgroup.org/services/family-medicine for more information.

Do Skin, Hair and Nail Vitamins Really Work?

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Most vitamins and supplements containing biotin, fish oil or vitamins A, C and E can help stimulate hair and nail growth. You can typically find specialized vitamins that have high concentrations of the vitamins and minerals below.

Here are a few vitamins and minerals to keep in mind and how they function:

  • Biotin. Biotin (also known as B7) strengthens hair and increases its density. Other ways to fit biotin into your diet include eating eggs, bananas or drinking milk.
  • Fish Oil. Fish oil makes hair and nails shiny. Fish oil also serve as an antiaging supplement. If your skin is damaged from too much sun exposure, the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may help.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A reduces acnes flares and is an antiaging agent. Having a vitamin A deficiency may increase the risk of developing acne, as it becomes more difficult for dead skin to be removed from hair follicles which may lead to blocked pores.
  • Vitamin B. Vitamin B is known to lower the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer and precancerous growths.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, brighten the skin and stimulate collagen. Vitamin C also helps fight the formation of melanin (skin pigmentation).

Many who are vitamin deficient do not realize the deficiency until symptoms develop. Signs of various vitamin deficiencies may include brittle hair and nails, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, poor night vision, dandruff, hair loss, red or white bumps on skin and/or restless leg syndrome. If you feel that you are vitamin deficient, talk to your primary care provider about which vitamins may be best for your diet.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/hair-skin-and-nail-vitamins-do-they-work

https://blogs.webmd.com/healthy-skin/20180924/4-research-backed-supplements-to-boost-your-hair-skin-and-nails

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits#section4

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-313/biotin

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-complex

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/nutrients-for-healthy-skin#1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-deficiency#section1

Benefits of Playing Outside

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation, devoting only four to seven minutes to unstructured outdoor play per day and spending an average of seven and a half hours in front of electronic media.

These statistics are significant because experts agree that outside play builds healthier children. Outdoor activities such as running, jumping, throwing, pulling and catching require motor skills and aerobic exercise. Playing outside also provides opportunities for children to reap the benefit of soaking in vitamin D, which according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); four out of every ten toddlers and children are vitamin D deficient. Children burn calories, strength bones and muscles when they are running and jumping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims childhood obesity rates more than doubled from 1980 to 2010, outdoor play for at least one hour per day of moderate to vigorous activity is highly recommended.

When outdoor play is completely unstructured, children come up with their own plan; when they choose how to play and are provided the freedom to do so, they develop positive behavioral skills. Children are more imaginative and inventive when they explore and learn about the world around them. Behavior skills develops a child’s communication skills and fosters their ability to play well with others.

Are you having trouble with your child’s attention span? Playing outside can increase the amount of time they are able to focus. The AAP found that outdoor play helps develop a child’s ability to stay more focused in the classroom; it too  promotes creativity that allows them to perform better in the classroom and academic learning.

Playing outside gives children the freedom to practice important life skills. Time alone, and with other children will give them the opportunity to make decisions, practice creativity, problem-solve. Of course, these skills are recognized as valuable to future planning, prioritizing and multitasking.

The benefits go on and on. Send your children outside in the backyard to play. Give them the freedom to play however they want to exercise their mental and physical wellness.

References:

https://news.sanfordhealth.org/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/6-reasons-children-need-to-play-outside-2018052213880

https://www.livestrong.com/article/141891-the-benefits-outdoor-play-children/

Foods that Trigger IBS

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Irritable Blower syndrome, also known as IBS, is a disorder that affects the large intestine. There are many different factors that can cause IBS such as; muscle contractions in the intestines, abnormalities in the nervous system, inflammation in the intestines, severe infection and microflora (the good bacteria inside the intestines).

Symptoms may increase when individuals eat or drink certain foods.

Food that may cause constipation:

  • Wheat- breads and cereals made from refines grains
  • Chips and cookies
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy

Foods that may cause diarrhea:

  • Foods with a high amount of fiber such as fruits and vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Milk
  • Carbonated drinks

General symptoms of IBS may include; pain related to bowel movements, change in bowel movements and change in the appearance of stool. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, an estimated of 10-15 percent of people with a gastrointestinal disorder suffer from IBS.

If you are experiencing any new or abnormal symptoms or if you develop any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your primary care physician . To find a primary care physician please visit https://bit.ly/2vsdcnk or call 208-239-3815.

References

https://www.webmd.com/ibs/ibs-triggers-prevention-strategies#1

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/take-control-of-ibs-with-low-fodmap-diet/

Why Prescription Drugs and Alcohol Should Not Be Consumed Together

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

“Prescription painkillers, sedatives, antidepressants, and antipsychotics are the most commonly used drugs mixed with alcohol,” claims the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Mixing these two substances may increase your risk of overdose and damage to the body. In 2010, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found around 16 million US citizens reported prescription drug abuse.

Combining alcohol with prescription drugs may cause a counter effect and reduce the purpose and effectiveness of a prescription medication. In addition, combining alcohol with prescription medication may also induce the drug to create an even more harmful effect on the body.

Unfortunately, prescriptions mixed with alcohol consumption occur more frequently than expected. The dangerous combination may not always be intentional; failure to read the labels accurately can put individuals at an increased risk for harmful side effects. People may also have the impression that the effect of the drug is completely out of your body’s system before it has been fully depleted from your system.

Chronic health issues may develop if an individual mixes alcohol and prescription drugs frequently. Issues can vary from heart problems; stroke or heart attack; liver damage; internal bleeding; brain damage; depression; anxiety or other mental health problems.

Side effects of may include:

  • Upset stomach, nausea
  • Fatigue, drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Coordination loss
  • Emotional change

If the label on a prescription drug does not list a warning, this does not indicate it can be mixed with other substances. Always contact your physician or pharmacist and ask if alcohol should be avoided with prescribed medication. If you or someone you know mixes these substances together and experience life-threatening consequences such as breathing issues, blue-colored lips and fingernails, uncontrollable vomiting, seizures and coma call 911 immediately.